Woke is most certainly a problem, especially because it has overtaken the institutions of the West. Fundamentally, however, Woke is a problem residing in individual humans. And because those humans are our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and neighbors, fixing it falls to us. The people involved may disappoint us and even insult us, but we may not give up on them.
And so I’d like to address the practical side of this problem.
The first thing to understand is that fixing this will not center on reasoned arguments, because Woke isn’t simply irrational, it’s hardened against reason.
Woke grew out of post-modernism (a teaching that no argument can ever really mean anything) and critical theory (maintaining that tearing things down is virtuous). Those beliefs exclude reason and balance, and so Woke treats them as oppositional.
A Woke mob opposes reason, simply because it is reason. (If you’ve tried to argue with one, you’ve likely seen this.) Reason is slow, and the mob requires immediate compliance. Reason lacks pre-set conclusions, and the mob tolerates no deviance.
We should also understand that Woke requires devil figures; without something to attack, it deflates. It has substance only in opposition to something else.
Woke, in the end, isn’t a philosophy or even a political movement, it’s a desperate attempt to manufacture meaning. It exists because the Western thought-monopoly of interlocking institutions (education, government and media) have left young people without meaning. Parenthood having been trashed, religion made ridiculous and physical work made dishonorable, young people find no paths to meaning save for power and celebrity… and there aren’t many job openings for power and celebrity.
You can think of the problem this way:
When you have a monolithic and monopolistic culture – one that has eliminated the possibility of an outside – and if that culture fails to provide meaning (even opposes it) for two generations running, Woke, or something like it, is what emerges.
We must show these young people that meaning can be found. And this will not be solved top-down, it will be solved on an individual basis… bottom-up.
Here, for whatever they’re worth, are a few conversation snippets that seem to have some value. Please apply them (or not) as you think best:
So, what do you think we should do?
I don’t want to make anyone do anything. I don’t think I have any right to dictate to them, and I don’t think they have a right to dictate to me.
Do you support trans (or whatever) rights?
There are no such things as trans rights, straight rights, gay rights, white rights, black rights, or any other sub-divisions. There are only human rights, and we all have them by birth.
And what rights are those?
We’re free to do whatever we want, so long as we don’t harm others.
And what if someone tramples my rights?
Then they’re a criminal.
And what if laws violate my rights?
Then the people making and applying them are criminals.
At some point in a conversation like this, you’re likely to find an opening to say things like these:
- I just want to love my family and raise my children well.
- I want to do meaningful work… to create and discover.
- I want to be a good neighbor.
- I know these things are hard, but they’re sacred to me, and I’m willing to suffer for them.
Doing this is our job. As difficult as it may be, there’s no one else to do it.
Let’s get to work.